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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Board of Commissioners recently approved an estimated $29 million project to modernize 100-year-old sewer infrastructure on the South Side.

The commissioners voted to rehabilitate a portion of the sewer lying under 39th Street (Pershing Road), stretching from Halsted St. to the MWRD’s Racine Avenue Pumping Station. The essential infrastructure conveys wastewater and stormwater from local sewers to provide drainage and protection for 145,000 residents.

Sewer Infrastructure under Pershing Rd.
Sewer infrastructure under Pershing Road.

The drainage line, which serves an area of approximately nine square miles, is experiencing deterioration, including loss of bricks, infiltrating joints, and mineral deposits at a number of places, which could eventually lead to its collapse.  This is the second phase of a larger project. 

Under Phase I, a bypass tunnel was constructed to allow for the rehabilitation of the 39th Street drainage line.

“With the Board of Commissioners' action to approve the $29 million second phase for modernizing a century-old sewage system, we are aiming to improve services for more than 145,000 people living in the area,” said MWRD Board President Kari K. Steele. “Upgrading the southeast of Chicago's 100-year-old sewage treatment infrastructure and honoring the MWRD’s commitment to the community's well-being are my unwavering priorities.”

It is estimated that 131 jobs will be created or saved as result of award of this contract, which is required to meet the MWRD’s Affirmative Action Ordinance, establishing work opportunities for minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs), women-owned business enterprises (WBEs) and veteran-owned business enterprises (VBEs).

"In safeguarding the future of our community, the MWRD is taking a decisive step forward with the approval of a $29 million investment in the second phase of modernizing a century-old sewage system,” said MWRD Commissioner Daniel Pogorzelski. “This commitment reflects the MWRD's dedication to upholding the well-being of our community and fortifying the foundations of a sustainable future."

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2024. The target date for substantial completion is February 2026.

Press Release

Established in 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.


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